Friday, February 24, 2017
Rules for Helping Your Toddler Cope with a Cold
At first, it’s just some sniffles, maybe a few coughs. It usually doesn’t take long for that to escalate to an inflamed, sore throat and a fever. These are all the signs that a common cold has set in and toddlers, with their immature immune systems, are pretty vulnerable to getting sick. Well, the fact that your child spends most of his/her time licking and mouthing things doesn’t help either.
Fall and winter are season when your toddler is particularly likely to develop a cold because all of the cold air and indoor heating dry out nasal membranes, which makes it easier for illness to set in. This is also a time of year when your child spends a lot of time indoors, where illness spreads quickly from person to person. It’s likely that your son or daughter will get six to 10 colds per year. But, a child in daycare may get as many as 12.
When a cold sets in, there are things you should do to help your toddler make it through the cold. Typically, you only have to wait three or four days, but some kids stay sick for as many as ten. The following should help you both make it through without losing your mind.
Your child may lose a lot of fluids during a cold because of elevated body temperature. Also, liquids—like water, Gatorade, juice, and Pedialyte—help to break up the mucus that sets up camp in tiny lungs and sinuses. When your child drinks a lot, they thin their mucus and that makes it clear away more quickly than it would otherwise.
Is milk a good idea? Yes, milk is a liquid and many parents feel it is a component of a healthy diet. Some people fear that it triggers phlegm production, but studies show this isn’t true. What milk can do is thicken phlegm and irritate the throat. So, it’s a tossup. The milk can make your toddler’s symptoms worse, but if your child won’t drink other liquids, the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages. After all, getting liquid and calories into your child is important.
If drinking liquids isn’t going well, try water-rich foods like soup and fruit. You can also give your child frozen liquids, like popsicles.
A stuffy nose makes breathing nearly impossible, which will definitely make your little one lose sleep, and the last thing your want is a sick, sleep deprived toddler. Therefore, you need to help your child to breathe more easily. A humidifier will help lessen congestion. Experts recommend seeking out a cool-mist one, rather than a warm-mist one, because your child could get too close to it in the night and get hurt.
Also, try saline nose drops to soften dried mucus in his or her nasal passages. This can be tricky because children are not big fans of nose drops. You need your toddler to cooperate, so offering a reward for being good can go a long way in this instance. Once you get through the first dose, all of the subsequent ones will get easier and easier to administer.
Dorothy Piamonte is a blogger and freelance writer, and former nursing aide, as well as the mother of four rambunctious boys. Her writing focuses on general healthcare, behavior problems, addictions, recovery treatment such as meth abuse treatment and information for curious parents. She has gotten through a lot of toddler colds and she knows how hard it can be.